By Tony Eluemunor
With the 2019 presidential election seven days away, we should check Gen. Mohammadu Buhari’s promises during his 2015 campaign against his performance. That should determine if he deserves our votes again.
President Muhammadu Buhari
Buhari’s promises: “I, Muhammadu Buhari, believe that our politics is broken. Our nation urgently needs fundamental political reform and improvement…. If you nominate me in December, 2014 and elect me in February 2015, my administration will: 1. Initiate action to amend the Nigerian Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties, and responsibilities to states in order to entrench true Federalism; 2. Strengthen INEC to reduce, if possible, eliminate electoral malpractices….”
Buhari promised to “Establish a well-trained, adequately equipped and goals driven Serious Crime Squad to combat insurgencies, kidnapping, armed robbery, ethno-religious and communal clashes, nationwide; Consult and amend the Constitution to enable states and local governments to create city, local government and state policing systems, based on the resources available at each levels, to address the peculiar needs of each community.”
Did Buhari engineer any political reforms? No. Buhari’s four years in power has pushed Nigerian Federation from the frying pan into the fire proper; now our common Nigerianness is being rocked all across the nation as the ties that bind us have been frayed badly. On security too, the Boko Haram insurgency is still strong and may have morphed into or produced something new: the killer-herdsmen that have taken their devil’s fare almost countrywide. The economy is in tatters too.
Next Saturday, Nigerians will elect the next President. Buhari had promised solemnly to “Strengthen INEC to reduce, if possible, eliminate electoral malpractices.” Ironically, Nigeria’s greatest fear now is electoral malpractices and the antidote to such is the card-reader and electronic transmission of results bill, which Buhari refused to sign into law—first week of December. Yet, in the Vanguard newspaper of Wednesday, 12/12/2018, the INEC assured that “The commission has taken on board the challenges and glitches faced in the use and deployment of smart card readers in 2015, and has made significant improvements and upgrade to the said smart card readers. The upgraded smart card reader is faster, more robust and has new features that enable it to store additional data and transmit results.” Another failed promise!
On Buhari’s respect for the Constitution, well his suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, is before the courts, so, the least said the better.
Despite Buhari’s promise: “Generation, transmission and distribution of at least 20,000 MW of electricity within four years and increasing to 50,000 MW with a view to achieving 24/7 uninterrupted power supply within 10 years, THISDAY newspaper of 5th February 2019 reported that power supply averaged 3,952MW; less than two weeks to the election.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019, the Leadership newspaper reported that, the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, cautioned that the nation’s debt profile has risen to an alarming rate near the pre-2005 Paris Club levels: N22.43 trillion as at September 2018, 85% cent increase since June 2015.
More promises: “Ban on all government officials from seeking medical care abroad” and the leader himself broke the ban. “Empowerment scheme to employ 740,000 graduates across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” creation of “720,000 jobs by the 36 states in the federation per annum (20,000 per state),” “Three million Jobs per year,” “Provision of allowances to the discharged but unemployed Youth Corps members for 12 months while in the skills and entrepreneurial development programme,” Making our economy one of the fastest-growing emerging economies in the world with a real GDP growth averaging 10% annually.” It grew 1.8 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2018.
“Creation of a Social Welfare Programme of at least N5000 that will cater for the 25 million poorest and most vulnerable citizens upon the demonstration of children’s enrolment, in school and evidence of immunisation to help promote family stability,” “Eradication of state of origin, replacing that with state of residence to ensure Nigerians are Nigerians first, before anything else.”
What about repairing the petrol refineries? Buhari promised: “Reviving and reactivating our minimally performing Refineries to optimum capacity” but nobody talks about such now. “Construction of 3,000km of Superhighway including service trunks,” “Building of up to 4,800km of modern railway lines—one third to be completed by 2019,” “At least one functioning airport in each states,” “Speedily passing the much-delayed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and ensuring that local content issues are fully addressed. Establishing at least six new universities of science and technology with satellite campuses in various states. “Free Education at primary, secondary and tertiary institutions for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Education.”
After the APC South-East rally at Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri, March 2015, newspapers reported Buhari’s declaration: to make the naira equal to the dollar: Now the exchange rate is N361.50 to a dollar. But it was N199.177 to a dollar then. All that Buhari talks about now is anti-corruption fight; even then Transparency International has a recently rated Nigeria among the most corrupt countries. So, nothing has changed.
Now, if Buhari has failed so woefully, why is the election projected to be a close race between him and PDP’s Atiku Abubakar? On what is the support for Buhari based? Five months into the 2018/2019 academic session, Nigerian universities are yet to open. This academic session has only FOUR months left.
The minimum wage can hardly buy a bag of rice. The concept of Federalism and the independence of the three arms of government, have been weakened. Insurgency is rife and Buhari’s own wife said openly her husband had lost control of the nation to a cabal. It is only in Nigeria that such would be said of a President and the man would attempt to contest an election; for himself or the cabal’s second term?
This is pertinent because the First Lady had hit at the very concept of democracy when she, at a leadership summit in Abuja, challenged Nigerians to fight the “two or three people who have dominated this government,” after all 15.4 million voted for Buhari in the last election. Mrs Aisha Buhari had in 2016, during an interview with the Hausa Service of BBC alleged that her husband was being controlled by a cabal, saying he had no hands in the appointment of most of his ministers. And democracy is supposed to be government of the people….!
For four years, Buhari has treated Nigeria like a feudal entity instead of a federal democracy. He has remained obdurate and inflexible. He still insists on Federal spending on Cattle Ranches. Also, despite the condemnation that he peopled his security services from a few sections of the country, he said at Obi of Onitsha’s palace in January, that he appointed heads of security agencies purely on competence and merit. Did he mean that the complainants lacked competence and merit? September 2015, Buhari had put the same answer differently on a BBC Hausa Service programme: that the Constitution allowed him full control over the choice of his closest officials, and made it clear the appointments also served as reward for those who remained loyal to him. He sure looks down on others. Here, he has shown his lack of fellow-feeling for others or a great non-appreciation of the very nature of Nigeria: a multiplicity of nations that he should help build into a united country. That is Buhari’s greatest fault.Source: